Beside being a great country that can infringe on copyrighted material quicker than you can change your pants China is also well known for its love of anything technology based but especially for its love of apple and its products, when they are making copies of those products that is.
Which means with the release of the new iPad, and due to the hard time of getting government approval to import them, smugglers have fired up their own lines of access and have been smuggling the new iPad into China and people eager to snap them up regardless of the cost.
Tech In Asia is reporting that to date there has been over 200,000 of the new iPads that have been smuggled into the country with most coming in through the main city of Shenzhen. The ease of smuggling through Shenzhen is primarily due to it bordering Hong Kong so many of the smuggled iPads are literally being walked into the city.
Along with that there is also a steady stream coming directly from the US via Chinese immigrants and overseas Chinese students who are lining up to buy the iPad at the Apple stores in the US and then getting them into the hands of the “grey importers”.
How much is this worth to the gadget mules? Those in the US are reportedly netting about US$20 for each iPad they buy and pass on to the smugglers. In Hong Kong, the fee is a lower 80 RMB ($12.65). But that still can represent a very lucrative business for the cross-border carriers, who are often mainland Chinese who would very likely earn less per day doing a conventional job. The rest of the price mark-up that gets passed onto consumers is dictated by the main grey import agents depending on the balance of supply and demand. It’s conceivable that some of the very first smuggled new iPads into mainland China will change hands for as much as 10,000 RMB ($1,580), before the price settles down to a more routine level that’s only, say, 500 RMB above the proper retail price.
As the old saying goes – where there’s a will there’s a way, especially when it comes to Apple products it seems.